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NEWSLETTER: FEBRUARY 2009 Digital Papyrus newsletter

Digital Papyrus

"Science Fiction Brewed Fresh Daily"

Date: February 2009
Issue No. 60

Precursor

We've had storms in our area. Normally, this wouldn't be of any interest to the O*W*C; the storms have caused an "outage of service for internet and phone" for FIOS customers. Being the geek that I am, this is crippling me!

Last year, J. C. Hutchins ran a serial called Obsidian, based on the two week period of complete electrical outage that occurred in his 7th Son series (7th Son Descent will be published in dead tree format in the fall of 2009). The stories were all written by fans and other authors invited by Hutch to play in his sandbox. The formats ranged from flash fiction, to YouTube video, to novella, and all depicted the point of view of the victims of the power outage. One was written by one of Darth Vader's Storm Troopers scouting earth for future domination by the Empire, documenting his observations of how the people near his outpost were/not coping with the crisis.

How would we manage if we completely lost the technologies we have today? It's not a new storyline premise. And it is rapidly becoming a real concern. Are the survivalists right? Should we be seeking ways to de-concentrate our population? Should we be stocking up and fortifying ourselves? Consider how much of our old technologies we don't have.

My great grandmother knew how to make candles and soap. She knew how to sew without a sewing machine. She was schooled at home after her chores were completed, which included all the many tasks associated with a small family "farm" of crops and animals that provided the family with enough to be self-sufficient. I've never been close enough to a cow to touch, let alone milk it. I'm quite sure I'd be a bit squeamish about killing a chicken and preparing it for the cookpot. For that matter, how would I cook it?

All SF General and O*W*C chats will now be held in our Web chatroom at:
http://www.other-worlds-cafe.com/chats/chatroom/index.php
For news and information about Web chat, visit our site at:
http://other-worlds-cafe.com/chats/

New SF books for February 2009

Tor Books: Tor/Forge SF and Fantasy

CRITICAL MASS -- Whitley Strieber
ESCAPE FROM HELL -- Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle
STEAL ACROSS THE SKY -- Nancy Kress

Del Rey Books: Del Rey Books (Science Fiction and Fantasy)

WITHOUT WARNING -- John Birmingham
DEAN KOONTZ'S FRANKENSTEIN: PRODIGAL SON -- Dean Koontz

Del Rey Books: Del Rey Books (MANGA Releases)

BAKUGAN BATTLE BRAWLERS 2 -- Cartoon Network
AVENTURA 3 -- Shin Midorikawa
TOTO! 4 -- Yuko Osada

Baen Books: Science Fiction & Fantasy from Baen Books

WORLDS -- Eric Flint
MAN-KZIN WARS XII -- Larry Niven
PRESCRIPTION FOR CHAOS -- Christopher Anvil
THE BOOKS OF THE WARS -- Mark Geston
MANXOME FOE -- John Ringo, Travis S. Taylor
RING OF FIRE II -- Eric Flint
FROM THE SEA TO THE STARS -- Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc., Harcourt Brace & Co., Inc.

See also:

Science Fiction - Penguin Group(USA)
Science Fiction and Fantasy at HarperCollins Publishers
Bantam Dell Publishing Group
Random House, Inc: Science Fiction and Fantasy

Author's/Artist's Corner

"Locus, the trade journal of science fiction, keeps a list of the winners of major science fiction awards on its web page. Mike Resnick is now the leading award winner for short fiction among all science fiction writers, living or dead."

Movie & TV Buzz

2009.02.06    CORALINE
2009.02.06    THE OBJECTIVE
2009.02.06    PUSH
2009.02.13    FRIDAY THE 13TH
2009.02.20    THE VELVETEEN RABBIT


NOTICE: For the time being we will be discontinuing FICTION CORNER

SPACE BABEL - The latest in Science, NASA and Other Agencies

Top Stories listed today on Spaceflight Now

Wall divides east and west sides of cosmic metropolis

CHANDRA X-RAY CENTER NEWS RELEASE
Posted: January 31, 2009

A new study unveils NGC 604, the largest region of star formation in the nearby galaxy M33, in its first deep, high-resolution view in X-rays. This composite image from Chandra X-ray Observatory data (colored blue), combined with optical light data from the Hubble Space Telescope (red and green), shows a divided neighborhood where some 200 hot, young, massive stars reside.
FULL STORY

CoRoT discovers most Earth-like exoplanet yet

BY DR EMILY BALDWIN, ASTRONOMY NOW
Posted: 03 February, 2009

The CoRoT space telescope has detected an exoplanet less than twice the size of Earth orbiting a Sun-like star, and with a surface you could walk on, astronomers speculate.
FULL STORY

Five years and counting for the intrepid Mars rovers

BY STEPHEN CLARK, SPACEFLIGHT NOW
Posted: January 24, 2009

Five years ago this weekend, the Opportunity rover made what scientists have dubbed an interplanetary hole-in-one, fortuitously landing in a small Martian crater containing rock-hard evidence that Mars was once a warmer, wetter planet.

Opportunity parachuted to the Martian surface and bounced to a landing inside the crater Jan. 24, 2004. Its landing zone was a sweeping sandy plain called Meridiani Planum.
FULL STORY

From CNN Science and Space News

Apocalypse in 2012? Date spawns theories, film

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • December 21, 2012, marks the end of a 5,126-year cycle on a Mayan calendar
  • Some think the date is ominous, others say it may signal the dawn of a new era
  • Theories are fabricated on the basis of very little evidence, Maya scholar says
  • "The whole year leading up to it is going to be just crazy," another scholar warns
FULL STORY

New nano coating boosts solar efficiency

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Scientists create a new coating that could make solar panels more efficient
  • The coating boost sunlight-absorption rates from 67.4 to 96.21 percent
  • The seven-layer, anti-reflective coating also captures sunlight from all angles
  • Researchers hope to have the product on the market within two to three years
FULL STORY

Stem cell discovery could mean faster healing

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Researchers discover treatment that could improve injury recovery times
  • Drugs prompt bone marrow to release two new types of stem cells
  • Technique tested on mice, clinical trials on humans could be ten years away
FULL STORY

From Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

City not of this Earth wins science prize

By Rick Wills, TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Sunday, January 25, 2009

Novaoplis is a coastal city that grows much of its own food and recycles nearly all of its water.

"It has ceramic walkways that melt snow and ice. It also has green areas and greenhouses to grow food," said Adam Balliet, 14 and an eighth grader at Franklin Regional Middle School in Murrysville, a member of a team that designed the city of the future.
FULL STORY


And, of course, don't forget to check out our very own Blog:
http://www.other-worlds-cafe.com/news/blog/

A short break from gravity

How about a few sites for downloadable diversions?

Escape Pod
The Science Fiction Podcast Magazine. "Each week Escape Pod delivers science fiction short stories from today's best authors. Listen today, and hear the new sound of science fiction."
PodCastle
"The Fantasy Fiction Podcast. PodCastle is the world's first audio fantasy magazine. Weekly, we broadcast the best in fantasy short stories, running the gamut from heart-pounding sword and sorcery, to strange surrealist tales, to gritty urban fantasy, to the psychological depth of magical realism. Our podcast features authors including Peter Beagle, Benjamin Rosenbaum, Jim C. Hines, and Cat Rambo, among others."
Pseudopod
"The Sound of Horror. Pseudopod is the world's first audio horror magazine. We deliver bone-chilling stories from today's most talented authors straight to your computer or MP3 player." [The story intros always end with "..and I promise you, it's true."]

Hook in the Book

Terl could not have produced a more profound effect had he thrown a meat-girl naked into the middle of the room.

The clear dome of the Intergalactic Mining Company employee recreation hall shone black around and above them, silvered at its crossbars by the pale glow of the Earth's single moon, half-full on this late summer night.

Terl lifted his large amber eyes from the tome that rested minutely in his massive claws and looked around the room. He was suddenly aware of the effect he had produced, and it amused him. Anything to relieve the humdrum monotony of a ten-year duty tour in this gods-abandoned mining camp, way out here on the edge of a minor galaxy.

Battlefield Earth
L. Ron Hubbard

Last Word

Verizon reports over a crackling phone connection they are committed to fixing the problem by 8:00 pm, Wednesday. I'm running away for the day, taking my laptop to a client's office where I can use my EVDO and possibly get a little work done. After two days of having all the computers in the house slowed to a crawl by their inability to connect online, I'm starting to suffer from withdrawal. It hurts when I'm not connected to my news sources, my podcasts, my "tweoples" (someday, I'll write about Twitter).

Granted, one of those days, I was sick as I could get. It just meant that the second day was filled with mountains of frustration when I couldn't access any resources and fell even farther behind. I really didn't think I was so dependant on my connectivity. After all, the last two times I went on vacation, I took but did not use my laptop. I've gone whole weeks without falling apart like this.

I'm definitely in the mood for some "after the Apocalypse" stories...

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